MILITARY & WAR YEARS – Grand Volunteer Inspection at Redcar
Accreditation the Redcar and Saltburn Gazette 10/06/1875
GRAND VOLUNTEER INSPECTION\
Friday last (03/06) being fixed upon for the grand review day, cheap trips from various towns were arranged to convert a excursionists to Redcar. The break of day was ushered by a thick fog, which gradually disappeared as the sun heaped forth from the Eastern horizon, by 8 o’clock it was a lovely a June morning as ever opened – such a one as might well in juice strangers to leave home for a day’s recreation by the seaside. A little after 9 o’clock the town began to fill up with old and young, and towards noon hundreds were parading the streets and wondering upon the sands. 2 o’clock was the time fixed upon for the review to commence, and by that time the field was densely lined with civilians. Shortly after that hour General Morant, the officer appointed to review the battalion, and his staff, appeared on the scene, and was received by a general salute. Lt. Colonel Wilson, the officer in command, then marched his men in open column, then there were formed in quarter column, where the command was given march-past in quick time, this movement was done without an error, the companies marched past the General as straight as a line, this was done at the shoulder arms, then the march passed in column was given this being done at the trail-arms, the march-past in double time, which being the last of the march-pasts, then there were wheeled to the left in double time, change front to the left on No.8, after which they changed front to the right on No.4, then the battalion formed line on the No.1, then a little stand-at-ease and stand easy, then a attention was heard from the commander, which was a signal for the men to keep their ears open for the next command. The senior Major then conducted them through the manual and firing exercises which were the following:- Present-arms, support-arms, port-arms, charge bayonets, and slope-arms, all of which manoeuvres were gone through in a very soldier-like manner, and give great satisfaction. Firing exercise is the next movement, which began with the independent firing, then came the folly firing, the first volume was fired without a discord, in fact if blank cartridges had been used the volley would have sounded like one mass of thunder, but the second volley we must not speak so highly of, a little defect might be traced, from some fault of the commander’s. The men were next marched in column to the extent of the ground and one company being brought out went through what is termed company drill, then the battalion formed in column. We will now say a little bit about the skirmishing: skirmishing is the best part for the lookers-on, to see them extended and marching towards the supposed enemy, but in this case there were not all extended, only to companies, some of them being the right and left supports, and the others reserve it is a grand site to see the skirmishes marching towards the supposed enemy when the bugle sounds the retreat, when all the men turn right about and run as quickly as possible and get behind the reserve, then some of the supports are extended and double towards the place where the old skirmishes have retired, the odd numbers of the ranks run out and fires, and even numbers adding the same alternately, then the retire is sounded, and the advance, then the retreat and another good run and by they have got half-way, the long G is sounded, which is meant for the men to lay down and hide from the enemy after which they rise and are marched in falls and dismissed.
On the return of the men to the camp there were addressed by Lt. Col. Wilson, the captain commanding the battalion, who said he had been very much pleased with their conduct during the time they had been in camp, and he was satisfied they had done their best. He hoped if they came out into again they would be as attentive as they had been on the present occasion. He trusted they would be out again – indeed, he would like to see them encamped every year. Three days’ rill like what they had had worth 50 unconnected battalion drills. Colonel Catheart had intimated to him that if the men who had been in camp had a shooting competition, he would give a sum of 10 guineas towards it, and the field-officers had also expressed their desire to subscribe towards a challenge cup, and give added money for other prizes. The men would remain in camp that night and be in line at 10 o’clock, as the reveille would sound at four in the morning. He then dismissed the men.
Great credit is due to the Officers for the able manner in which they enforced military discipline in the camp, and all so to the men for their general uniform good conduct during, the short time they have been on duty. The tents, at a distance presented a neat and picturesque appearance, and on approaching them, it was evident that great attention was paid to the health and comfort of the men. Each morning the tents were thrown open and cleared of the beds and bedding which were neatly arranged in line outside for the purpose of airing. Sentry boxes were placed at short distance, and at midnight the centuries might be seen “taking of their lonely rounds.” Nothing occurred yesterday to mar the proceedings of the day either in the field or road, except the break-down of a trap running for higher, but fortunately in this mishap no one took harm. At the entrance to the field stood a miscellaneous lot of conveyances for public use, and “going down” was as familiar as on the Downs at Epsom on the “Derby day.” After the review the non-commissioned officers met in the sergeants’ tent, and presented to quarter master Heniham a sum of money to purchase a timepiece, as an acknowledgement for the valuable services rendered the battalion during the time he had been among them. The “camp” at Redcar will be long remembered by many, and more especially by those forming the battalion. 7000 and 8000 people were present during the review, a scene never before witnessed in this isolated part of Cleveland. Mr. Hoggard, the celebrated photographer, of Coatham, has produced a splendid picture of the camp.
September 1, 2014 Military & War Years